Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice.
Today’s call comes by way of Christopher Barry, beverage director at The Musket Room (265 Elizabeth Street; 212-219-0764).
Christopher Barry’s experience in the food and beverage industry has many layers, so it makes sense that one of his go-to drinks is La Perla. “It’s so layered that you taste the drink a good 30 seconds after you’ve had a sip,” he says. “It’s so genius.”
On that career, though: At the University of Georgia, Barry worked at a craft-beer bar in Athens while obtaining a degree in English literature and mass communications. While pursuing a career in writing, he explored his love of food and beverages by brewing beer with his brother and, as Barry puts it, “got really into coffee as a way to get me out of bed.”
The experience helped him realize that he liked being on his feet and interacting with people, though he would realize it was another career behind the counter that best appealed to his senses. “As a barista, you’re trying to get the best of what everyone else did before you,” he says. “Don’t screw up what the roasters did.” He yearned for a role where he could help build something from the ground up, so his career shifted toward working behind the bar at establishments like Red Rooster Harlem and Monument Lane.
Now to the drink — what is it about La Perla that makes it so attractive after a long day? “Its flavor and texture,” says Barry. “It’s a very dry drink. A lot of that comes from the Manzanilla…I found that pear was a really interesting foil to the other ingredients. To me, the pear was completely unexpected. It doesn’t bring a huge amount of flavor, but when you distill it, it really shows its flavor.”
Sampling the drink at The Daily, a spot renowned for inventive cocktails, made him a believer. But Barry notes that even the best bars may not have all of the ingredients in stock, which is why he has a classic backup drink for such cases: the Martinez, “the gin drink for a whiskey drinker,” he says. “It makes use of Old Tom gin,” a style that is a bit on the sweet side, but still dry enough to appease the traditionalist’s palate.
1 1/2 ounces Reposado Tequila
1 1/2 ounces Manzanilla Sherry
3/4 ounce Pear Liqueur
Add all the ingredients to a glass and fill with ice.
Stir and strain into glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
2 ounces Old Tom gin (Barry recommends Ransom or New York Distilling Co.’s Chief Gowanus)
3/4 ounces sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Orange twist for garnish
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice.
Stir and strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.